Intel planning mobile assault in 2011

Intel has claimed it is making headway pushing its chips into tablet computers and that smartphones using its processors will go on sale late next year.

Intel planning mobile assault in 2011

The company is keen to catch up in the mobile market and is hoping chips due to launch next year will invigorate its mobile business, which has struggled to get off the ground amid explosive sales of Apple’s iPad tablets and smartphones using Google’s Android operating system.

“The consumer (tablet) products will roll out over the first half of next year,” said chief executive Paul Otellini, adding that manufacturers had agreed to use Intel chips in 35 tablet models, including a few already on the market.

Otellini listed brands including Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba.

Intel’s Atom chips dominate netbooks, but smartphone and tablet manufacturers have mostly rejected them in favour of more power-efficient chips based on ARM architecture that are made by companies like Qualcomm and Marvell.

“Intel is moving in the right strategic direction, but it still has a long way to go,” said Hendi Susanto, an analyst at Gabelli & Company.

“They’re late into the game. There is no clear visibility on what the products look like.”

Intel’s share of the world semiconductor market slipped marginally to 13.8 percent in 2010 from 14.2 percent the year before after sales of netbooks were hurt by weak consumer sentiment, according to market research firm Gartner.

Smartphone marathon

Otellini called Intel’s pursuit of the smartphone market “a marathon, not a sprint,” adding that the company’s second-generation Medfield chip was being sampled by customers and should ship next year and in 2012.

“You will see smartphones from premier branded vendors in the second half of 2011 with Intel silicon inside them,” Otellini said.

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